Fourth quarter is Lakers' undoing in first loss of season

The Lakers' demise came in the fourth quarter.

It came when the Denver Nuggets ripped apart the Lakers' defense. It came when the Lakers eschewed their offense. It came when the Lakers loaded up and took a bunch of three-pointers without any thought.

The cost of all of that for the Lakers was a 118-112 loss to the Nuggets on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center, a loss that snapped the Lakers' season-opening eight-game winning streak.

When asked for his thoughts on how the Lakers played in the decisive fourth quarter, Coach Phil Jackson was absolute.

"It [stunk]," said Jackson, who used a stronger word.

His team gave up 33 points in the fourth quarter.

His team allowed the Nuggets to make 60% (12 for 20) of their shots in the fourth, 42.9% (three for seven) from three-point range.

His team made 29.2% (seven for 24) of its shots in the fourth, rarely running its offense.

His team took 12 three-pointers in the fourth, making just two (16.7%).

His team had half of its 10 turnovers in the fourth.

"We just didn't take care of the basketball," Jackson said. "We sat back and let them run out.

"[Ty] Lawson had some layups and did some great things for them tonight and ignited the crowd and this team."

Lawson, Denver's backup point guard, torched the Lakers for 11 of his 17 points in the fourth. He had four of his five assists in the fourth and missed just two of his six shots in that quarter.

Pau Gasol had 17 points and 20 rebounds, but he was six for 17 from the field for the Lakers.

That led Jackson to say: "Pau just didn't have a good game. He didn't play well. He didn't make shots that he normally makes. I thought he wasn't that person that we can look to take advantage of positions down in the post."

Lamar Odom played a poor game, scoring three points on one for six shooting with 12 rebounds.

He did not play in the fourth quarter.

Jackson said he didn't play Odom because the Nuggets went to a small lineup and he felt Shannon Brown (19 points) was playing well and that he figured Ron Artest could handle Carmelo Anthony.

"That didn't work out that great for us," Jackson said.

Indeed, Anthony scored 32 points and had 13 rebounds.

For the game, the Lakers shot 40.8% from the field, 31% (nine for 29) from three-point range.

Jackson wasn't happy with how his team ran the offense.

"We were very poor," he said.

Jackson wasn't happy with his team's defense.

"Our defense was porous," he said, "and it cost us ultimately in the end."

The Lakers once had a 14-point lead, then trailed by nine points in the fourth after the Nuggets went on an 11-0 run.

The Lakers got to within four points late, but Kobe Bryant (34 points on 11-for-32 shooting, three for 10 on three-pointers) and Artest (18 points on seven-for-11 shooting, one for three on three-pointers) then jacked up back-to-back three-pointers that missed.

After Denver's Chauncey Billups made the first of two free throws with 24.9 seconds left, Jackson called a timeout.

"We got the game within four and there was plenty of time to take that game down another notch," Jackson said. "We cranked up a couple of threes. Kobe shot one and Ron shot one. Instead of doing some execution, we just settled three-point shots. I was not happy with that."

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